Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Dairy farmer who lost his home and land after defaulting on loan loses legal negligence bid

A dairy farmer who lost possession of his home and land for defaulting on a £275,000 loan failed today in a legal bid to establish negligence in the case.

Kieran Rafferty claimed proceedings initiated against him over the agricultural plot and house in Fintona, Co Tyrone were flawed.

But a three-judge panel in the Court of Appeal threw out his case after ruling that it had no merit.

Mr Rafferty had borrowed £275,000 from GB Finance Group Limited in 2008, claiming the money was to expand his business.

The company was granted a High Court order for possession of the property at Aghafad Road after he defaulted on an interest payment.

Mr Rafferty launched his own legal action over the outcome, claiming the arrangements did not meet his borrowing requirements.

When his case was thrown out, he appealed on the basis that his lack of legal representation deprived him of a fair trial.

He also claimed the court had been misled when the possession order was made.

The farmer appeared on his own behalf at the appeal, aided by a paper prepared by his law student son.

Ruling on the case, Lord Justice Girvan held that there was no apparent authority to back a claim of negligence.

He said: "It would be a novel proposition with enormous implications to conclude that a creditor owes a tortious duty of care to a debtor borrowing money, and that the lender has a duty to ensure that the borrower can afford to pay the debt which he is entering into.

"We do not consider that it would be fair, just and reasonable to imply such a duty of care in the circumstances of a case such as the present."

Rejecting all grounds of appeal, the judge noted that £164,000 of the £275,000 borrowed was used to pay off existing debts.

"Although he had purported to borrow the monies to expand his dairy business the money was never intended or used for that purpose," Lord Justice Girvan added.

He described Mr Rafferty's assertion that he is not liable for the borrowed sum as being without merit.

The court also made an order for legal costs in favour GB Finance.

 

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